The Lutheran Church of Good Shepherd posted forty things to give up for Lent. I am blogging each of the 40 days of Lent as I reflect on what to give up. Day four is to give up “impatience.”
As the blog lists number four as impatience, it also states, “God’s timing is the perfect timing.” My first response to that sentences is “WHAT?” The second is “REALLY???” I understand the sentiment, but in the midst of the some of my most difficult moments in life, I am not sure how I would have responded that “God’s timing is the perfect timing.”
Doesn’t it sound like a trite phrase that someone says when they have no clue: about life, about pain, about grief, about fear or uncertainty. When I popped the word impatience into a search engine and asked for images, this was the first that that came up:
Impatiens, not impatience came up. I immediately smiled. Now, I happen to love impatiens, the flower. They are perfect for the shady area on my back deck. I just didn’t expect to “google” the image impatience and come up with flowers. Flowers seem to be an image for all things going well, not when life is falling apart and a person is impatient to change whatever is happening. The dictionary defines it as “the tendency to be impatient; or irritability or restlessness.”
It is true, we tend to be in such a hurry and are so restless and snippy when things don’t happen quick enough. It seems like we can’t wait to grow up, then we can’t wait to retire, we are impatient for “life to happen” whatever it is we envision that life to be. We miss things because in our impatience we don’t attention, or at least I don’t.
Today I had my hair cut. The beautician was “behind” and so I had to wait half an hour before she would be done with the client before me. She was most apologetic. I was not in a hurry. In fact my husband and I have worked hard not to be in “a hurry” whenever we are shopping or waiting in line. The only thing impatience does is make me more irritable and it doesn’t make the line or the wait go any faster.
So, back to giving up impatience for Lent. While the saying “God’s timing is perfect timing” seems trite, perhaps it points to a deeper truth. Trying to force circumstances and time to do what we want them to usually doesn’t work and honestly, often makes things worse. Waiting for clarity, waiting for a sense about decisions and waiting and just being can be true gifts.
Perhaps this is what is meant by “God’s timing is perfect timing.” The season of Lent means waiting, pondering, praying, meditating and finding a stillness that “lets the mud settle and the water clear.” In the clarity, giving up impatience, our life can unfold before us. Maybe that is why Jesus spent “forty” days in the wilderness. Rushing the process might have meant no clear sense of calling or vision. He came out of the desert ready to be in ministry.
So I shall continue to work at giving up “impatience.” I will allow space in my head and heart so that clarity might occur about my life and what God has in store for. me. On this fourth day of Lent, I continue to be graced to serve.